A Willard man arrested after a lengthy pursuit in Idaho was charged Wednesday with murder in the death of a man found beaten in his garage earlier that day.
A preliminary investigation indicates 27-year-old Cody Henderson, of Ohio, who was found in Chay Blair’s garage near 400 South Main in Willard, died from blunt force trauma, Willard Police Chief Jean Loveland said in a statement.
After naming Blair, 25, a suspect in Henderson’s death, Utah authorities tracked him to Power County, Idaho, by pinging his cellphone.
The pings led Power County deputies to Blair, who was parked on the side of the road near American Falls, Power County Sheriff’s Capt. Kevin Ostler told The Tribune on Friday.
“They pulled up behind him and turned on the lights, and he decided he didn’t want to talk at the moment, and he put it in gear and drove straight into town,” Ostler said.
American Falls police and county deputies chased Blair through town, and Blair avoided a set of spike strips before authorities steered him toward a marina in American Falls, which sits on the Snake River on a dead-end road.
Blair should have been trapped, Ostler said, but after pulling a series of “Dukes of Hazzard” moves and weaving through the marina‘s RV park, Blair got in front of police and left the marina the same way he came in.
This time, though, he hit spike strips police had placed at the road’s entrance, Ostler said. Four or five miles later, Blair pulled over and was arrested.
The Idaho incident resulted in a number of charges against him there, including felony eluding, Ostler said.
On Friday afternoon, Blair was to be extradited back to Utah, where he has been charged in 1st District Court with first-degree felony murder and third-degree felony abuse of desecration of a dead human body.
Charging documents indicate that after Blair “intentionally” caused the victim‘s death, he “intentionally disturbed, moved, removed or concealed the victim’s body.”
The sheriff’s office said Wednesday that Henderson had become acquainted with Utah people while he was here for work and had returned on personal business.
Utah authorities have not released additional information about how Henderson died or whether he knew the defendant.
Blair Wardle, the chief criminal deputy attorney with the Box Elder County Attorney’s Office, declined to comment on the charges filed, citing the ongoing investigation.
No court dates had been set as of Friday.